Abstract # 13294 Event # 133:

Scheduled for Friday, August 23, 2019 03:30 PM-03:45 PM: (Room 325) Oral Presentation


SIMPLIFYING NONHUMAN PRIMATE POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT TRAINING THROUGH INNOVATIVE CAGE DESIGN

D. M. Abney
Charles River Laboratories, 6995 Longley Lane, Reno, NV 89511, USA
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     At Charles River in Reno, NV, we had the opportunity to design and build an indoor group housing area for female macaques (Macaca fascicularis). We felt it prudent to design caging that would enhance welfare, facilitate animal training, and improve efficiency by incorporating knowledge of the animals’ behavior into the cage design. There are 27 individual units, each housing up to 11 females that require daily vaginal swabs for menses cycle tracking. To simplify animal training, we designed a tunnel system by which the animals enter via the back of the cage. They are trained to come to a holding cage for swabs before being released into the main unit. Between the months of June 2017 and September 2018, we received 556 females into the group housing area. All of the females were naïve to the caging and training, but by capitalizing on their natural behavior, we successfully trained them how to enter the tunnel within 1 – 2 training sessions. In September 2018, data collected on 44 naïve females, confirmed 100% compliance with animals coming forward for vaginal swabs after 21 days of positive reinforcement training. Understanding the animals’ natural behavior and incorporating it into caging design allowed for improved efficiency with regards to animal training, husbandry needs, and research activities.